Visit to learn more about the Space Education Centers in Utah. Visit and for information on joining a simulator based school space and science club.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Utah Kids Learn Space Skills at Astrocamp

Hello Troops,
Astrocamp is our sister center located at Discovery Elementary School in Ogden, Utah. Ed Douglas founded the camp about the same time I started the Space Education Center in 1990. We sponsor a joint camp with Astrocamp every summer. This six day camp starts at Astrocamp on a Monday. The campers are bussed to the Space Center on Thursday. They finish the camp on Saturday.

Astrocamp was in the news today. Read on and learn about a great educational program in Utah.

Mr. Williamson

By Mary Richards

OGDEN -- After July, the U.S. will no longer fly shuttle missions into space. But Utah kids don't care. They are still excited about space travel.

In one room at Odyssey Elementary School in Ogden, kids wearing orange jumpsuits are concentrating on the binders before them, fingers poised over the buttons they must push.

"Systems activated," says one. "Copy, Phoenix!" says another via headset from mission control down the hall, where another team looks at its screens showing different views of the shuttle and surrounding area. Every person plays a part in this simulated shuttle takeoff and landing.

Astrocamp Director Ed Douglas says it teaches teamwork and boosts confidence.

"That self-esteem, that 'I did something hard,' there's nothing better than that," he said.

Douglas says Astrocamp registration fills up within days of opening in the spring. Kids are still clamoring to learn about space, even though NASA's space shuttle program is ending.

"We've finished one chapter in a book and we've started another chapter. It's still the same book. Space travel will always be space travel no matter what system or program we are using to launch astronauts into space," he explained.

There are different levels and lengths of missions they can go through.

"They can do a spacewalk and get in helmets and repair a satellite, and experience just what it is to be an astronaut."

But it's not just about astronauts. Douglas likes to share with the kids a story of Neil Armstrong thanking the guy who tightened the screws, because everyone is important and must work together.

As the kids finish this mission, they breathe sighs of relief when they hear that although they were about a minute late for the projected liftoff, they still had very few mistakes.

"Nice job, Astrocamp!" they cheer.

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